Patterns for the Weekend: Trot-Canter Cavalletti Challenge

This exercise from Ingrid Klimke encourages strength, precision, throughness with willing cooperation, and longitudinal bend.

This exercise comes to us from renowned Equestrian, Olympian and author Ingrid Klimke. It was originally published in her book Training Horses the Ingrid Klimke Way. This is a terrific challenge for the horse and rider who have mastered regular cavalletti work.

Position four trot cavalletti on one side of a circle and four canter cavalletti on the opposite side. Use cones to mark the point for two transitions: one upward to canter and one downward to trot.

Canter over the canter cavalletti, transition down to the trot precisely at the cone, and ride over the trot cavalletti. Then transition to canter with precision at the next cone. This must be schooled in both directions. You must always be looking ahead to the next cone or cavalletti.

This exercise speaks to all the valuable elements of cavalletti work and trains the horse’s entire musculature. The transitions reinforce throughness with willing cooperation and precise transitions at a distinct point. Maintaining longitudinal bend and going over the eight cavalletti on the circle are real strength-builders.

See how you do!

Some of the overall advantages of cavalletti work for the horse:

  • Improves rhythm and balance in movement
  • Gymnasticizes
  • Strengthens the musculature
  • Loosens the muscles (especially over the back)
  • Improves long-and-low stretch
  • Increases suppleness
  • Improves surefootedness
  • Conditions
  • Increases expressiveness in the gaits
  • Encourages cadence
  • Builds concentration
  • Improves motivation through independent thought

Reprinted with permission from Trafalgar Square Books.